Blood in the Cotswolds by Rebecca Tope (Book Summary)

Thea Osborne has a new house sitting assignment in Cotswold. The owner will not be around for a month, but she only has to look after the home (including the snake and the horses) for about a week since the owner’s son will be taking over. She was accompanied by her boyfriend, Phil Hollis, a policeman. Phil planned on just staying with Thea. However, he hurt his back because of the feather mattress. He went to the doctor the next day and was told that it was a slipped disc and he needed to rest for a couple of days until the pain subsided.

One morning, a beech tree fell. When Phil passed by it, he discovered a human skull, so he notified the police. The investigation started, and a few people began reaching out to him.

First was Stephen Pritchet. He told Phil that he feared the skeleton could belong to his son, Giles, who missing for nearly 2 years. Phil confirmed after a few days that the bones didn’t belong to Giles because, according to the study, they belonged to someone who died 5 years ago.

The second person who reached out to Phil was Robin. Robin’s daughter, Soraya, came over to inform that the horses had escaped. Robin brought the horses back and started asking Phil about the bones he found. Robin also told him that it may belong to a random bloke. Phil immediately concluded that what Robin said was just a distraction.

The third person who visited Phil and Thea was Rupert. He visited twice. On the first visit, he asked for the owner of the house. On the second visit, he asked Phil to stop the investigation because it’s stressing the people in Cotswold. Rupert also explained that he is Janey’s twin. Janey is the gigantic woman who regularly talks to Thea and Phil regarding saints. Rupert and Janey are very different since Rupert is beautiful. Rupert explained that this is because they share the same mother but not the same father.

The fourth person that visited is Giles – he turned out to be alive. He pointed a gun at Phil as he slept and while Thea was away. When Phil woke up, he tried to talk to Giles. Before Giles could shoot him, the police arrived and shot Giles. Someone reported his presence with a gun an hour ago.

After all those visits, Thea, Phil, and the detective in charge, Galdwin, started forming a hypothesis. Thea had a theory that Fiona (Janey’s friend) killed the man they suspected as Rupert’s father. Thea stormed out of the house to look for Thea, but her theory was wrong.

They thought that the dead man was Rupert’s father because of the DNA result. According to the DNA test, the bones belong to Rupert; however, that does not make sense because Rupert has been talking to Thea and Phil. They also saw Soraya and Rupert holding hands one afternoon. However, they soon realized that the DNA really belonged to Rupert and the man Thea and Phil met was an impostor.

They could pin down the impostor when Soraya called the police informing them that someone held her and her dad Robin hostage. She pretended that she was calling her friend Fiona because the suspect was listening.

When the police and Phil arrived, Detective Galdwin tried knocking on the doors (front and back) – no one answered. A few moments later, Thea and Janey arrived. Janey announced that the man would listen to her and would not hurt her. She burst through the door. When she got out, she revealed that everyone was safe except for Robin. He was not critically injured. He just needs medical assistance.

Everybody got distracted, and nobody saw the impostor try to escape. Phil was able to spot him and threw himself to him. He held on to his leg to stop him from running away. The impostor couldn’t escape, and his identity was revealed – his real name is Sammy, and he is Janey’s husband. Janey was trying to help him escape.

Sammy, the impostor, holds Soraya and Robin captive because he wants to be with Soraya but Robin objects. Sammy also killed the honest Rupert (the reason not mentioned! It was just said twice that he was a waste of space). Sammy pretended to be Rupert because of the trust that Janey enjoys – the trust could be removed once everybody found out Rupert was already dead. Giles ran away because he knew about what had happened to Rupert. Giles came back because he wanted to kill Phil – he was angry at Phil for revealing that he had found a skull.

After reading this book, I was in a bad mood because everything else was portrayed in pages (including the cringe-worthy conversations between Thea and Phil). Still, the ending was only explained in 2 pages?!! It wasn’t even fully explained. The last pages were just a question and answer between Thea and Phil, with the answers mostly starting with ‘I think.’

Did I miss something, or is this something the author didn’t mention:

  1. Why did Sammy kill Rupert? 
  2. It was mentioned that the victim’s hand and foot were cutoffs (and it was suggested that it has been involved in some kind of a reenactment for a Saint’s death). Since that theory was not true, then why was it cut off?

List of Characters:

  • Thea Osborne – house sitter / Phil’s girlfriend
  • Phil  Hollis – a policeman / Thea’s boyfriend
  • Stephen Pritchet – resident of Cotswold / father of Giles
  • Giles – used to be a resident of Cotswold / missing for over a year
  • Robin – resident of Cotswold / Soraya’s father
  • Soraya  – resident of Cotswold / Robin’s daughter
  • Rupert – resident of Cotswold / an impostor
  • Janey – resident of Cotswold / the woman who befriended Thea
  • Galdwin – new detective
  • Fiona – a friend of Janey